Feb 2, 2017

KNEEding Rest

If you know me at all, you know that I like hockey. I love both watching and playing. When I am at a rink, if I am unable to be on the ice playing, then I want to sit (literally) on the edge of my seat with my nose against the glass.

OK; Truth be told: I LOVE hockey!

And, because I am a ‘rub-dirt-on-it’ kind of person, I don’t like to let injuries keep me out of the game. One year I broke the pinky on my left hand and a cast was put on me that went up to my elbow. Instead of sitting out the game, I had a teammate lace up my skates so that I could be a referee because they were one short.

So, the idea of not playing when I have the time and have a game available isn’t something I am going to do; even if I am injured. This is especially true when it is the end of January and the outdoor ice here in Minnesota starts to melt in mid-February; which is only two weeks away…that adds up to only a few more games outdoors!

And yet, this past Saturday morning that was exactly what I knew that I needed to do.

For the past month or so, my right knee has been giving me some trouble. It doesn’t affect me DURING the game partially because my compression garments, shin pads, and hockey socks wrap around in a way that seems to stabilize my legs and knees.

But AFTER the game, a few hours later, my right knee begins to ache and swells up. The pain and swelling usually lasts from Saturday night through Friday morning; with pain levels going from a “10” (out of ten) on Saturday night to a “3 or 4” by Friday morning. 

This cycle of pain through the week affects me a lot when I am even doing simple things like walking up and down stairs and when I drive; which usually brings pain levels back to “10”! My favorite part is the popping or cracking noises, and frequently locks up.

It also stops me from crawling on the living room floor to give horsey rides to my grandchildren. “Not today; grandpa is hurt…”

My remedy for the pain has been a combination of Ibuprofen, Lidocaine, Biofreeze, and ice…applying and repeating throughout the week. 

By Friday evening I have some idea whether I am going to play or not. But, I wait until Saturday morning to make my final decision. And, for the past month, my love for hockey has trumped my body’s need for healing.

My knee felt good by this Friday and my pain level was better than last Saturday, so I was cleared for takeoff. A fresh sheet and teammates awaited my arrival. And yet I didn’t go.

This Saturday my body won.

I know that sometimes you need to rub some dirt in and keep moving, and for that part that is in my fiber I am grateful; it has kept me employed and kept me in the game (both hockey and in life).

Moms understand this and know that they need to respond to a baby’s cry even if they have had no sleep (and if their man has slept right through the crying). They are always on call no matter how they feel.

I say that my body won, but the truth is that it was a scripture that came to me that gave me wisdom to sit out this week’s game even though I could have pressed through and played.

The LORD speaking through the Prophet Isaiah said:
In returning and rest you shall be saved;
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
But you would not” (Isaiah 30:15 NKJV)

I realize that my knee isn’t what the LORD was talking about in that passage, nevertheless, the LORD communicated to me that I needed to rest to find my strength; there was something else beyond this game.

I immediately thought of the fact that even though my outdoor season would be ending in a few weeks, my spring season will be starting in five weeks. I needed to see the bigger picture that if I would simply sit out one game, then I could get stronger to play my ten games (March thru May).

My combination of Ibuprofen, Lidocaine, Biofreeze, and ice…applying and repeating throughout the week, was a temporary fix for what my body really needed; REST!

In fact, my attempts to get healed were undermining what God was trying to do. Pressing through was making things worse in the long run. The swelling and the pain were trying to prevent further damage to my knee and were trying to communicate that I need to stop trying to be strong; I needed REST!

I needed to rest my knee for other reasons as well, like being available to help carry things for others or being on the floor with my grandchildren.

Do you realize that sometimes our short-sighted goals or efforts prevent us from getting what we really need? In fact, we can undermine what God is trying to do for us by trying to take shortcuts.

I love how Eugene Peterson translated Isaiah 30:15 (MSG):
“Your salvation requires you to turn back to Me
and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves.
Your strength will come from settling down
in complete dependence on Me—
The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do.”

If you find yourself today in a similar state of mind (or body) and you are trying to push through in your own strength, my exhortation to you is to STOP…and REST!

Jesus longs for you to call out to Him today.

He is waiting for you to respond to His mercy and grace that has already been extended to you through Jesus Christ. And you can; today. And it can make all the difference in the world as you look for hope in your present world. Let Him bring you REST.

Need further help? Someone is waiting to talk with you. Call either: 1-888-NEED HIM or 1-877-2GRAHAM (1-877-247-2426).

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

Scripture taken from The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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